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The Princess Bride by William Goldman

The Princess Bride (original 1973; edition 1984)

by William Goldman

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14,853338133 (4.28)1 / 534
Title:The Princess Bride
Authors:William Goldman
Info:Del Rey (1984), Mass Market Paperback
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Princess Bride by William Goldman (1973)

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Showing 1-5 of 333 (next | show all)
This story within a story was fun to read. Goldman sets it up that he is doing an abridgement of the story - just the good parts. The author is present and explains the background, his choices, and at times his life. The other story is about true love and overcoming obstacles, building a family.
I'm looking forward to seeing the movie version! ( )
  ewyatt | May 26, 2015 |
I hate to say this, but this book almost only got 2 stars from me. Nothing to do with the story concept. That I still love, but I hate how the author butchered it. To start, the first 40 plus pages in nothing but an introduction and the authors first chapter, which has to cover how he got into the story, how he liked sports, how he became an author, and movie writer..blah blah blah. Chapter one should not be your autobiography! So, 40 some odd pages later, I get to the bottom line. Mr Goldman did not like the original story, since it isn't a children's story, therefor he must eliminate a good chunk of the book. All this because his dad only told him about the exciting parts. So fine, whatever, longest intro and 'nonfictional' prologue ever. But then, a few pages into the actual story, I come across more author interjections that explain more of why he did not like what the author had to say and he didn't get where the author was going. For two pages, in the middle of the story, I had to read Mr Goldman's personal interjections. Well, this continues throughout the book. So basically, the author loved how his dad told a story, within a book, so he though he should take over the book, and rewrite it
So, enough ranting there. Honestly, skip this book to avoid the authors personal rant issues, and just watch the movie. You get the story, all the great lines, without all Mr Goldman's personal issues.
Bottom line, love the story but really unhappy with how the author handled this book. ( )
  jljaina | May 16, 2015 |
**spoiler alert** I grew up loving this movie so I knew that I was going to love the book. I like William Goldman's witty tone in his explanations for taking out certain parts, and some parts of the book he reacts to what just happened in the story:

"Look. (Grownups skip this paragraph)...There's death coming up, and you better understand this: some of the wrong people die. Be ready for it. This isn't Curious George Uses the Potty. Nobody warned me and it was my own fault (you'll see what I mean in a little) and that was my mistake, so I'm not letting it happen to you. The wrong people die, some of them, and the reason is this: life is not fair. Forget all the garbage your parents put out" (218).

There is quite a lot of input and made me think of how Kuzko randomly butts in to narrate parts of "The Emperor's New Groove" (for example, the first 50 pages of the book are just introduction, but it did provide a behind the scenes point of view of the actors in the movie), it's witty and well-intended, but quite lengthy at times, so just beware.

The book is always going to be better than the movie, but I was surprised at how it precisely followed a majority of the book, particularly the dialogue. However, I was excited to find parts of the book that were not in the movie. Buttercup always seemed like a whiny damsel in distress, but in the book she is still a bit whiny but more driven by fear. The biggest example I found is the mistake she makes out of fear by trusting Prince Humperdink not to harm Westley if she goes with the Prince:

"The truth," said Westley, "is that you would rather live with your Prince than die with your love"
"I would rather live than die, I admit it"
"We were talking of love, madam." There was a long pause.
Then Buttercup said it:
"I can live without love."
And with that she left Westley alone...Westley watched it all. He stood silently at the edge of the Fire Swamp. It was darker now, but the flame spurts behind him outlined his face. He was glazed with fatigue. He had been bitten, cut, gone without rest, had assaulted the Cliffs of Insanity. had saved and taken lives. He had risked his world, and now it was walking away from him, hand in hand with a ruffian prince. (199-200)

Far more devastating to read than the brief 30 seconds this played out in the movie, but we later find out that Buttercup doesn't completely love Westley until she realizes her mistake and they have been separated for some time, which I had not realized watching the movie.

What also didn't make it into the movie was the mini-adventure that Inigo and Fezzik take to rescue The Man in Black (Westley). I really enjoyed reading the mini-adventure because it shows more of the characters of Inigo and Fezzik (who knew a giant could be afraid of so many things?) as well as shows more of the strength of their friendship, besides their love for rhyming:

"Fezzik reached the top of the wall and started carefully climbing down the other side. "I understand everything," he said.
"You understand nothing, but it really doesn't matter, since what you mean is, you're glad to see me, just as I'm glad to see you because no more loneliness."
"That's what I mean," said Fezzik." (254).

I think their friendship is so sweet, even though they are oppposites, it ends up balancing out their fears where one can be the hero for the other. For example, Fezzik is huge and strong, Inigo is quick yet small. When Inigo is trying to be quick to reach Westley but is stuck in a crowd, Fezzik bellows and people move. When they are going through the levels of the Zoo of Death and Fezzik is afraid of the "creepers", "slitherers", and most of all bats, Inigo fights them all off for him. Fezzik is more even-tempered, but Iniqo can be explosive. Fezzik has low self-esteem, Inigo is confident. They end up saving each other's lives in the Zoo of Death, but do it as a team, which I thought really defined their friendship.

"Inigo looked at him. 'You mean you'll forgive me completely for saving your life if I completely forgive you for saving mine?'
'You're my friend, my only one.'
'Pathetic, that's what we are,' Inigo said.

All in all, a very fun read. The emotional roller coaster (if you've watched the movie, you already know mostly what to expect) and romance is marginal that it is appropriate for kids. William Goldman talks at length about how his father read this to him when he was 10, and he wanted to read it to his son when he was 10, so I'm going to take a guess here and say it's appropriate for ages 10+. There is no foul language, however, expect foul play. ( )
1 vote JanJanFreeman | May 5, 2015 |
The Princess Bride is my all-time favourite story (you've probably seen me mention this already). I love both the book and the movie. I was 8 years old when I first watched the movie (thanks to my granny recording it for when my brother and I stayed over) and I first read the book when I was around 15/16.

The Princess Bride begins with Buttercup and Westley realising their love for one another. Westley travels to America to seek his fortune so he can provide for Buttercup. However, he ends up captured by the Dread Pirate Roberts and Buttercup swears she "must never love again". Enter Prince Humperdinck, who proceeds to put a spanner in the works.

So, I love this book! No secret about that! It has almost everything in it - romance, comedy, villains, action and probably the politest duel in history.

I also love the way in which William Goldman wrote the book. Using the pseudonym S. Morgenstern he wrote the story but then "abridged" it using his own name and creating a fictional biography for himself. It was done very cleverly and it must have taken some skill to be able to write in two different writing styles interchangeably.

And the characters! William Goldman created in depth background stories for all than major characters and this shows you how they have ended up where they are. It provides more depth to their characters and contributes to your love for them. Inigo is brilliant! All he wants is to avenge his fathers death. He is also a true friend to Fezzik and really tries his best to help him i.e. creating rhymes for him. Fezzik is just the gentle giant, very strong but wouldn't hurt a fly if he didn't have to, and he really does try his best. He kind of reminds me of Hagrid. Westley... you can tell he goes through a lot. He turns into a totally different person and becomes more vocal towards Buttercup. He really just wants to prove himself and show his worth (why he goes to America in the first place).

The villians. Prince Humperdinck is just what you want in a villian. He is truely evil and will use people purely for his own gain. All he wants is a beautiful wife and will happily dispose of her when he no longer wants or needs her. And Vizzini! You just love to hate him. I hate him more than I hate Humperdinck. He is just so conceited and believes he is superior to everyone.

The one character I do have slight trouble with is Buttercup. I'm not altogether sure why Westley puts up with her! She is really quite stupid and can be quite cruel, especially towards Westley at the beginning. She is also quite weak and helpless. However, this could just be a sign of the times in which the book was written. However, to be fair Buttercup does have her own moments of brilliance and quick-thinking.

I give The Princess Bride 5/5 as it is such a brilliant story and I have so many childhood memories of watching the movie. I would recommend the book to everyone, especially those that have watched the movie. The movie is a very close adaptation and only omits a few parts but you get a better understanding of the characters when reading the book. ( )
  MyExpandingBookshelf | Apr 24, 2015 |
know that the Princess Bride occupies a tremendous space in internet fandoms after the 1980s film, but I really came to this book because I'm a Goldman fan. I have a somewhat embarrassing penchant for Westerns/cowboy stories and I loved Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid so damned much (Goldman wrote the screenplay for that).

The Princess Bride is a novel for children, or rather, young adults, but it is smart enough, and witty enough, to be enjoyed by cranky old men like me, as well. Goldman's device is clever: he begins narration, claiming to be abridging a massive historical volume original written by (a fictional author) S Morgerstern. It took me a while to pick up on this: I had mentally made a note to look for the original Morgenstern version before I realised that Goldman had made him up. It's smart, because it allows Goldman to insert himself into the narrative, mocking and teasing, his shiny wit teasing you.

TPB is also a gripping adventure story. I read the entire thing on a flight, to the consternation of the old lady sitting next to me. I jumped each time there was an exciting bit, causing her to jump, too. I hope her blood pressure is okay. The book begins with the most beautiful woman in the world, Buttercup, who lives on a farm in the country of Florin. She falls in love with the stable boy/farm hand Westley, after a childhood of being abusive and rude to him. He, meanwhile, loves her back. Unfortunately, Westley is lost at sea, and Buttercup is 'discovered' by royalty and set to marry the Prince of Florin (hence, the 'princess bride'). Meanwhile, a trio of outlaws, evil Vizzini, the master swordsman Inigo Montoya, and the massive, rhyme-obssessed wrester Fezzik, are on a mission to abduct Buttercup. Inigo wants revenge against a six-fingered man who killed his father. Fezzik wants to rhyme stuff. Vizzini is up to no good. And the Dread Pirate Roberts, who sank Westley's ship, is lurking around. Really, every element of a gripping adventure is here.

I loved this about The Princess Bride: although it is for children, it's not really a very childish story. People die, people get killed and tortured, the end is ambiguous enough to be not classified as happy. As Goldman keep saying, "“Life isn't fair, it's just fairer than death, that's all.” This is a story that is meant to hurt, a little, and that's a good thing. What I did not like about this book was Buttercup. She's the only female significant character, and she is unlikeable, vacant, not particularly plucky or loyal or even decent. I couldn't forgive her early treatment of Westley, no matter how much she claimed to love him later. I know there's people who claim that this story has a feminist twist. I consider myself a feminist. But I don't think that Buttercup calling Westley "Farm Boy" for years without bothering to find out his name is particularly human, forget feminist. Buttercup, if I may use language appropriate for a young adult book, is a jerk.

But The Princess Bride is fun, and eminently witty. Everyone's heard "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." but Goldman fills the book with these smart little asides, like "“True love is the best thing in the world, except for cough drops.” and "“Cynics are simply thwarted romantics.” and “Fool!" cried the hunchback. "You fell victim to one of the classic blunders. The most famous is 'Never get involved in a land war in Asia,' but only slightly less well known is this: 'Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line.” . I'd say this is well worth a read, even if YA Lit is not your thing (it certainly isn't mine) for Goldman. Damn that Buttercup, though.
  reva8 | Apr 20, 2015 |
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The book is clearly a witty, affectionate send-up of the adventure-yarn form, which Goldman obviously loves and knows how to manipulate with enormous skill.

» Add other authors (47 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
William Goldmanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
D'Achille, GinoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Green, NormanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Manomivibul, MichaelIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thomas, MarkIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
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Important places
Important events
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First words
This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it.
Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!
Death cannot stop true love. It can just delay it for a while.
As you wish.
Life isn't fair. It's just fairer that death.
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
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Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Beautiful, flaxen-haired Buttercup has fallen for Westley, the farm boy, and when he departs to make his fortune, she vows never to love another. So when she hears that his ship has been captured by the Dread Pirate Roberts - who never leaves survivors - her heart is broken. But her charms draw the attention of the relentless Prince Humperdinck who wants a wife and will go to any lengths to have Buttercup. So starts a fairytale like no other, of fencing, fighting, torture, poison, true love, hate, revenge, giants, hunters, bad men, good men, beautifulest ladies, snakes, spiders, beasts, chases, escapes, lies, truths, passion and miracles.
Haiku summary
Fractured fairy tale
"Life's not fair" is the point, but
True love never dies.

A farm boy pirate
saves his damsel in distress
and fights for true love.

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345348036, Mass Market Paperback)

The Princess Bride is a true fantasy classic. William Goldman describes it as a "good parts version" of "S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure." Morgenstern's original was filled with details of Florinese history, court etiquette, and Mrs. Morgenstern's mostly complimentary views of the text. Much admired by academics, the "Classic Tale" nonetheless obscured what Mr. Goldman feels is a story that has everything: "Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Bad men. Good men. Beautifulest ladies. Snakes. Spiders. Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passion. Miracles."

Goldman frames the fairy tale with an "autobiographical" story: his father, who came from Florin, abridged the book as he read it to his son. Now, Goldman is publishing an abridged version, interspersed with comments on the parts he cut out.

Is The Princess Bride a critique of classics like Ivanhoe and The Three Musketeers, that smother a ripping yarn under elaborate prose? A wry look at the differences between fairy tales and real life? Simply a funny, frenetic adventure? No matter how you read it, you'll put it on your "keeper" shelf. --Nona Vero

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:01 -0400)

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A writers views on life and art are revealed in his effort to edit the children's classic that shaped his literary ambitions.

(summary from another edition)

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